Whenever a person is tasked with writing professional documentation, regardless of the reason, there are several things to remember. First and foremost, it needs to be written for the audience. If you are writing a business plan with hopes of either attracting partners or investors, there are several things to keep in mind that will make your proposal stand out above the others who might also be vying for funds and support. In addition, some people will face the harsh reality that their idea isn’t achievable or sustainable once they see it on paper themselves, thus saving them time and money down the road.
Keep in mind that there are some people who want to get the gist of your business without reading the entire business plan. For those people, an executive summary is vital. This is a brief description of your business, including your mission statement, your product or service, your core beliefs, the market and demographic you are targeting, the reasons why you’ll succeed, and financial highlights you think are relevant.
Before you even get to the writing phase, you must first go through a lengthy research period. The point of research is to not only have the ability to make projections about the future of your business model but also be fully prepared to answer any questions that a potential investor might think of during your pitch. With every minute that passes, any interruptions or questions regarding missing data or fact-checking means losing the confidence of your reader. The main areas of research are market demand, upcoming trends, and competition. A good business plan will have facts and figures in the present-day but also predictions about the future. The ideal business plan should take the reader on a journey, imagining the realistic success of an idea. This can be reinforced by including marketing campaign concepts and sales scenarios. The more rooted in reality an idea, the more confidence it will instill in others.
Business plans can also be used for attracting talent. If you are recruiting people to join your team, one of the best ways to validate them and be transparent is to show them where you see the business going. It can also be a great way to flush out inquisitive minds based on the questions they ask about your business model.